High Stakes Feud Overview
The high stakes feud has been a battle between Daniel Negreanu & Doug Polk where they are facing off playing online heads-up no-limit hold’em. As many know, Doug Polk is an elite heads-up specialist, giving him a large advantage throughout the challenge. The hand we’ll go over today will be a clear example of a hand where Polk shows his edge compared to Daniel Negreanu.
The Challenge: NEGREANU vs POLK High Stakes Feud
Stage: This hand occurred nearing the halfway point in the challenge with Doug Polk up roughly $850,000
Stack Sizes: $60,000
Editor’s note: This video comes from Jonathan Little’s YouTube Channel. If you would like to stay up to date with more video content such as this, including hand breakdowns from Negreanu vs Polk, Tom Dwan, Bryn Kenney and more, click here.
Preflop Play in Heads-Up No Limit Hold’em
This hand begins with some very standard preflop decisions from both players. Polk raises from the BTN with 9♣-9♥ and Negreanu chooses to 3-bet with K♦-7♦. You might think that K7s is a clear call, but in heads-up play, you want to 3-bet a wide linear range of hands. This is because you will be playing the pot out of position with deep stacks, so you want to have hands in your range with good playability. When facing a 3-bet with 9-9, Polk has an easy call. This hand flops very well, but does not want to play for all of the chips preflop!
Playing the Flop
The Pot: $8,364
The Flop: K♥-5♣-2♣
The Action: Bet $2,400/Call
This is a board that is great for Negreanu! He will have the range and nut advantage on this board, which leads him to want to bet small with a large portion of his range.
Negreanu goes ahead and bets 30% pot and Polk has another easy call in this situation with pocket 9’s.
Playing the Turn
The Pot: $13,164
The Turn: (K♥-5♣-2♣) –K♣
The Action: Bet $9,873/Call
The turn brings the (K♥– 5♣-2♣) –K♣ and it’s where this hand gets interesting, especially in Negreanu’s shoes.
When you turn 3-of-a-kind, but the flush comes on the turn, what would you do with the K7? Would you check, bet 1/3 pot, bet 2/3 pot, or bet 1.5x pot?
While the K7 is a strong hand here, if you bet and get significant action, you’re usually in pretty bad shape.
Negreanu does go for the 2/3 pot bet, which is a big mistake! If he’s going to bet in this situation, Negreanu should bet small and checking is a good decision here as well.
Polk once again has an easy call, especially when holding the 9♣ for a flush draw.
Playing the River
The Pot: $32,910
The Turn: (K♥-5♣-2♣-K♣) – 9♦
The Action: Bet $24,682/Raise all-in/Call
The river brings the (K♥-5♣-2♣-K♣) – 9♦ which gives Polk the effective nuts!
When Negreanu does take this line with K7 on the turn, he needs to check on the river. This does 2 key things that are very positive for Daniel.
#1 – It allows Polk to bluff with some draws that would just fold to a bet.
#2 – It allows Negreanu not to get stacked when he has the worse hand.
Unfortunately, Daniel goes once more for a big bet on the river with the K7 and Polk, who I’m sure is very happy to see this, has a very easy jam for value.
After this action, Negreanu should just fold his marginal trips most of the time, but with Polk being extremely capable and able to bluff in tough spots, Daniel went for the call here, resulting in Polk winning a massive $120,000 pot. This is a classic example of someone overplaying a marginal made hand and shows that even extremely world class players, like Negreanu, make these mistakes sometimes.
Wrapping Up: Negreanu Loses a $120,000 After a Huge Error
In this hand, Negreanu played his hand way too aggressively and it cost him massively. It’s a nice reminder not to overplay marginal hands, even when it’s a hand that is typically very strong.
Currently in the challenge, Doug Polk is up $629,882, which seems like a ton, but is only about 16 buy-ins. With roughly 8,500 hands left to be played in the challenge, Negreanu still has a chance. He will need to play great and run really hot, but it is possible!
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